Feb 24, 2016

Sufjan Stevens @ State Theatre

It is very hard to describe a Sufjan Stevens concert. Without dipping into cliche and overflowing with superlatives, it's difficult to truly give adequate descriptions that could possibly give you a sense of what it is like. This was my fifth time seeing this musical genius and I don't think I will ever tire of seeing him live. He inhabits a space that I doubt any one us can truly understand. He has a spiritual beauty and a purity of heart and soul that is truly astounding. Suffice to say that his show Tuesday night at the State Theatre was special and wonderful and amazing and well, just add your own adjectives and multiply them. That will probably do.

In short this show was similar to his show last May at the Sydney Opera House. The first part of the night was basically 'Carrie & Lowell' in overdrive. 'Fourth of July' started whisper quiet and ended in thunder. 'Blue Bucket of Gold' descended into ten minutes of feedback and distortion. 'No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross' was a sublime acoustic beauty. And so on. All pretty damn great. But it was the encore that truly elevated to something else. Or rather I would say it was a second set, considering it was reasonably lengthy. Sufjan, as he opened up for the first time on the night, said they would play a 'few old songs'. 'Mainly about death'. So his band of five huddled at the front of the stage in front of one microphone and without amps gave us seven songs of stunning acoustic beauty. See the songs below and you get the picture. I am sure many people cried. 

Set List
Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou)
Death With Dignity
Should Have Known Better
Drawn to the Blood
All of Me Wants All of You
The Only Thing
Fourth of July
No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross
Carrie & Lowell
John My Beloved
Blue Bucket of Gold

For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti
The Dress Looks Nice on You
To Be Alone With You
John Wayne Gacy, Jr.
Casimir Pulaski Day

Feb 21, 2016

I Have Been to the Mountain-Kevin Morby

Kevin Morby is amazing and so is this!

Feb 9, 2016

Gillian Welch @ Enmore Theatre

To say Gillian Welch at the Enmore Theatre Monday night was a great music gig would not do the night justice. This was so much more. I have rarely, if ever, seen two performers so in sync. Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings inhabit a space few can. They draw on the all the rich traditions of American music and create a sound that is classic and timeless. Their playing is faultless. Rawlings in particular is a marvel on his 80 year old guitar. They play dark, they play light, they play joy, they play sad. They touch a vein of humanity that reminds us of the greatness of music. They play without a band, without amps, without artifice. The music stands on its own. It speaks of country and time and place. It is majestic and also heartfelt. 'Revelator' blew me away and by the time the played 'I'll Fly Away' I was shaking with joy. She didn't play Wrecking Ball. That is the ONLY fault I can find. Oh yeah they played the last song without mics. I think a few people cried. I did. 

The reverence in the room tonight was something I have rarely experienced. It was palpable. It's been a long time since Gillian Welch graced our presence. Too long. But it was worth the wait. This was greatness on every level imaginable. It was music at its purest. So fine. So pure. So beautiful.

Set List
Scarlet Town
Wayside/Back in Time
Rock of Ages
The Way It Will Be
The Way It Goes
Elvis Presley Blues
One More Dollar
I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll
Red Clay Halo

No One Knows My Name
Hard Times
Down Along the Dixie Line
Six White Horses
Sweet Tooth (Dave Rawlings Machine cover)
Dark Turn of Mind
Caleb Meyer

Look at Miss Ohio
I'll Fly Away (The Humbard Family cover)

Hickory Wind (Gram Parsons cover)
Jackson (Johnny Cash cover)

Long Black Veil (Lefty Frizzell cover)

Feb 4, 2016

Beach House @ Sydney Opera House

To say of a band that they sound like no one else is I believe a major compliment. Of course that would entail them actually sounding good. Beach House complete both categories. And then some. Their driving melodic dream pop truly is unique. And no doubt a big factor in that judgement is the voice of Victoria Legrand. It's deep cannon of a voice. It has real strength and power and also a smattering of melancholy. Beach House are truly a force of nature.

Wednesday night they played the Sydney Opera House for the first time and it was special. Although louder than I expected. In fact early on it threw me a bit. Drums were featured very heavily and so was the guitar. This seemed to take away the nuances on beloved songs such as 'Walk in the Park'. But it did settle in or maybe I got used to it. So by the time new favourite 'All Your Yeahs' came around I was sold on the journey. This pulsating track showcased the band's strengths beautifully. Robust keyboards, hypnotic guitar and that Legrand voice. They soon followed with the exquisite 'Silver Soul' and we were off and running. '10 Mile Stereo' is always a live highlight and tonight was no letdown. It also was accompanied by a stellar light show, giving extra oomph to each song. I must say though that 'On the Sea' was a welcome respite from the almost sonic blast. This quiet beauty of a song came just at the right time. But the rest of the show flowed nicely, ending well with the superb 'Myth'. A short encore was rounded off by the doom laden 'Elegy to the Void' and thus completed a wonderful night. Not perfect though, as I missed the more subtle aspects of their music, but still a timely reminder of the talent Beach House possess.

Set List
Walk in the Park
All Your Yeahs
Silver Soul
Space Song
10 Mile Stereo
On the Sea
One Thing
Master of None
Beyond Love

Elegy to the Void